I’m a WIP

Photo Credit: Flickr by 呉 松本

Photo Credit: Flickr by 呉 松本


A real Work-in-Progress

Every industry, hobby, and niche in our lives has its own lingo. As a writer, the acronym WIP represents a Work in Progress. It’s a story caught in the developmental stages of becoming a novel. (First draft or final edits or somewhere there in between.)

Like many of my stories, I consider myself a “Work in Progress” when it comes to writing. I take classes, read blogs and books on the craft, attend conferences, and work with other writers to learn. Each day that I sit down to write, I grow. Each day I sit down to read, I learn.

My debut book The Undead: Playing for Keeps was written in first person, present tense. For that specific story, the voice and tone were best represented by those choices. First person POV allows you to be inside the MC’s head and so you know everything they know, you see what they see, and hear what they hear. It’s a personal connection, but revealing information can be tricky with this POV. I like first person, but it does have limitations.

For my most active story, I chose third person, past tense because I needed to branch out and experiment with other perspectives. I chose third person to create distance at times, which first person doesn’t allow. Will the end product remain in third person when it reaches the final stages? I’m not sure, but the exposure and the experience of writing in different POV’s and different verb tenses helps me better understand the craft. You see, you have to take the wrong road to realize you need to change your path.

Don’t be scared or intimidated to experiment with other styles, POV’s, and verb tenses within the same manuscript. You may find when you flip the POV or use another verb tense that the shift breathes new life into your story. We are the product of our experiences, and that’s one way we grow. Allow yourself the chance to be a work-in-progress.

Photo Credit: Flickr by Celestine Chua

Photo Credit: Flickr by Celestine Chua 

While this writing adventure solidly began for me about five years ago, I am nowhere near my destination. Publishing a book isn’t the destination, it’s just part of the journey for this work-in-progress.

Want to read a few tips on writing? Check out these blogs and articles:

http://daringtolivefully.com/tips-for-writers-from-writers – Wonderful advice here.

http://avajae.blogspot.com/2014/08/stop-overthinking-and-just-write.html – Love Ava Jae’s blog

http://wp.me/p435Ln-yI – This was a blog I wrote and contains tips for unpublished authors from published authors whom I’ve interviewed.

http://dailydahlia.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/an-unauthorized-guide-to-being-a-debut-author-part-i-pre-promo/ – Dahlia shares great info


Photo Credit: Flickr by Gwendal Uguen

Photo Credit: Flickr by Gwendal Uguen

As a writer, the beginning of a story creates an enormous amount of excitement. Ideas spring forth and test the dexterity of my fingers as I attempt to record the words before they pass. New characters enter my life and invite me to go on a journey with them. Beginnings are magical.

So for this blog, I thought I’d share the beginning of one of my WIP’s. (Work in progress)

A Seren’s Heart

Fear belongs only to those who value life. I don’t fear anything. And except for my magic, I don’t value anything either.

I trudge slowly up the long, bricked steps, pacing myself to walk straight into the building and into class before the tardy bell rings. It’s become habit to limit my time around the humans and I have it down to a perfect science. There’s but so much of their smell, their sound, and their existence that I can handle. Avoiding them has become my routine and ignoring me has become theirs, even though, until lately, they’ve had little choice.

Marta forces me to attend their school. Learn their strengths and weaknesses, she says. Exist as if your futures are similar, she says. But our futures are not similar. Humans control their future. And what I want and need to learn will never be found within the walls of a human high school. But it’s never been about what I need or what I want.

Commotion pours out around me as I pull open the front doors of Emory High. Noisy humans, hanging out at every turn and slamming lockers left and right, pack the halls as far as I can see. The growing mob causes my skin to crawl. The governing rules instituted by the teachers, which ban chatter in the hallways and class tardies, have been thrown out the window because the weekend’s promise of freedom hangs in the air and dilutes everyone’s thoughts.

Everyone’s but mine. My thoughts were diluted long before.

Marta has always preached the importance to preserving our identity. That tenet led her to choose West Virginia. It’s not a densely populated state, especially our area with its one high school, a large shoebox-shaped building, with an abundance of red brick and wide-paned windows that feels more like a prison. To me anyway. But even with the small population, all the social groups find a way to exist.

I fit into none of them.

But then, that is my fate.

In writing, is the beginning the most exciting part for you? What are your WIP’s?



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Photo Credit: Flickr by John Ryan Brubaker

Photo Credit: Flickr by John Ryan Brubaker

So, what happens when you’re elbow deep in a new WIP and your manuscript edits come back? Well, you drop what you’re doing, read the edit letter and the notes in the margins about your prose (several times because it has to sink in), and dive in to make revisions. Right?

Right. And that’s what I did. I rolled up my sleeves (not technically, of course, because this is winter and I’m cold-natured), I addressed the items on my revision list, and beefed up my work. And my lovely little WIP that had demanded all my attention before the edit letter came? What happened to it? I gave it the ultimate cold shoulder. I didn’t even think about it while I revised my previous ms. It became an it. Total shun, I tell you.

And now, three weeks later, with my first round of edits returned, I opened my WIP file.

Maybe I was expecting too much… I thought I would open the file and the story would race back through my head. I thought words would flow, adding to the tale I started with vim and vigor. But that’s not what happened. I opened my file and felt like someone blindfolded me, forced me to play dizzy-izzy three times, and dropped me in a corn-field maze. Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But just a little. At first, I was frustrated and then I realized, I was just… lost.

As it turns out, my reaction was my mind’s (and maybe my WIP’s) way of saying, “Hey, things are a little mixed up here. Let’s straighten this out.” I’m still feeling the love for my WIP, but I needed to clean house and get my proverbial ducks in a row before I could resume writing. And many hours and a few dozen crumpled pieces of paper later, I have a new and improved map for my WIP.

So what did I learn? Well, detours and reroutes are sometimes blessings in disguise. And taking a step back from the WIP revealed angles and information I would have otherwise overlooked. Getting lost might just be part of the journey.